Voter ID law may affect 13K in county |

Voter ID law may affect 13K in county

Rich Cholodofsky

As many as 12,800 registered voters in Westmoreland County could be affected by Pennsylvania's new voter identification law.

Elections Bureau Director Jim Montini said on Wednesday that Pennsylvania Department of State statistics show more than 5 percent of the county's 233,000 registered voters might be impacted by the law that will be implemented for the first time in the Nov. 6 general election.

According to state statistics, the law could affect more than 99,000 voters in Allegheny County, 8,400 in Fayette and 4,500 in Indiana County.

Statewide, officials estimate more than 758,000 voters lack a valid photo identification needed to cast at ballot.

The figures include voters who do not have driver's licenses.

Montini cautioned that because the law allows other forms of identification — passports or military and work identification cards — the number of voters affected could be significantly less.

Voters with no identification on Election Day will be permitted to cast provisionary ballots. They will have six days to report to the elections bureau at the courthouse in Greensburg with a valid photo ID in order to have the ballot counted.

With the law being challenged in Commonwealth Court and a U.S. Justice Department investigation pending, county officials are not certain what the requirements will be on Nov. 6.

“We're just in a holding pattern, waiting to see what's going on with this,” Montini said.

For now, the county is preparing as if the identification law will remain on the books.

Poll workers earn $80 for their day's work.

For the spring primary, the county hired 50 workers to staff polling precincts. Officials have proposed adding 306 more workers, one new employee for every precinct, which would cost the county more than $24,000.

Montini said that plan is being revised and that he'll recommend that the county commissioners hire only 120 new polls workers at a cost of $9,600.

“We've reviewed our system and determined that some precincts are already staffed well enough,” he said.

If approved, the additional staff will work to process voters and check identification on Election Day.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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